Russia appeals WTO ruling over pigmeat import ban
27th Sep 2016 / By Alistair Driver
Russia, as had been widely anticipated, has appealed against the recent World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling on its import ban on live pigs, fresh pork and other pig products from the EU.
The WTO ruled in August that the Russian pork ban, imposed in early 2014 because of a limited number of cases of African Swine Fever (ASF) in areas in the EU close to the border with Belarus, was unlawful
It concluded that Russia's refusal to accept imports of certain EU products and to adapt EU-Russia import certificates amounted to an EU-wide import ban.
Yet the measure was not based on the relevant international standards and violates the rules of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the SPS Agreement), the WTO concluded.
The original ruling also found that Russia’s measures had been 'applied in a manner which constitutes a disguised restriction on international trade.
On September 23, the Russian Federation filed a notice of appeal, Pig World is reporting.
Basis of appeal
Clarifying the basis of this sort of appeal appeal, the WTO said while parties to a dispute can appeal a panel’s ruling, appeals have to be based on points of law, such as legal interpretation. They cannot re-open factual findings made by the panel.
The appeal will be heard by three members of a permanent seven-member Appellate Body comprising persons of 'recognized authority and unaffiliated with any government'.
The reality is, however, even if Russia loses the appeal, there is unlikely any rapid resumption of EU pigmeat exports. The ban in question is separate to the wider Russian ban on EU food imports, also imposed in 2014 because of a dispute with the EU over Ukraine.